United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MICHAEL HARVEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
was arrested on November 4, 2017, and charged by complaint
with two instances of willfully damaging property belonging
to or utilized or occupied by a foreign government, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 970(a). He made his initial
appearance before the undersigned on November 7, 2017, at
which time the government moved to temporarily detain
Defendant. At that hearing, the undersigned ordered Defendant
to undergo an initial mental competency screening by a
psychologist associated with the District of Columbia
Department of Behavioral Health, Pretrial and Assessment
Branch ("DBH"). On November 16, 2017, Defendant was
indicted on two counts of destruction of property occupied by
a foreign government under 18 U.S.C. § 970(a). On
November 17, 2017, the government filed a motion for a
competency hearing, for pretrial detention, and for exclusion
of time under the Speedy Trial Act. When Defendant appeared
on November 20, 2017, for his arraignment and detention
hearing, the undersigned found, based on the initial
competency screening report prepared by the DBH psychologist,
that there was reasonable cause to believe that a full mental
competency evaluation of Defendant was warranted.
Accordingly, the Court stayed the arraignment and detention
hearing and thereafter ordered that Defendant be committed to
the custody of the Attorney General for a period not to
exceed 30 days for placement in a suitable facility for a
competency evaluation, pursuant to the provisions of 18
U.S.C. §§ 4241, 4247(b) and (c), and Local Criminal
Rule 57.1 7(a)(l4). [Dkt. 7].
December 8, 2017, the government filed a progress report and
requested a status conference to address a delay in
transporting Defendant to a facility for his competency
evaluation. [Dkt. 8]. On December 12, 2017, the Honorable
Ketanji Brown Jackson, United States District Judge, referred
this case, nunc pro tunc, to the undersigned for
purposes of determining Defendant's competency.
December 13, 2017, Defendant arrived at the Federal Medical
Center, Butner ("FMC Burner") for the evaluation.
On December 22, 2017, the facility requested an extension of
15 days to formulate a more thorough diagnostic impression
and opinion as to Defendant's competency to stand trial,
which was granted. [Dkt. 13]. The time to complete the
evaluation was therefore extended to January 26, 2018. [Dkt.
14]. A competency hearing, detention hearing, and arraignment
was ultimately scheduled for February 22, 2018.
February 2, 2018, the Court received the forensic evaluation
of Defendant from a forensic psychologist at FMC Butner.
While at FMC Butner, Defendant agreed to begin a course of
medication, which he received in an injectable form that
requires a shot every four weeks, and expressed a desire to
remain on such medication. Id. at 6, 8. The forensic
psychologist found that Defendant, having been medicated,
"is competent to the extent he is able to understand the
nature and consequences of the proceedings against him and
assist properly in his defense" and that, therefore,
"he is competent to stand trial." Forensic
Evaluation at 8. The evaluator found that Defendant was
compliant, cooperative, polite, and respectful during the
evaluation period. Id. at 5. His thought processes
were rational, coherent, and organized, and his statements
were generally devoid of delusional content. Id. at
6. He stated that symptoms he had previously reported were
"more manageable on medication, " and the evaluator
noted that he did not appear to be suffering from such
symptoms during the evaluation. Id.
his competency to stand trial, the forensic psychologist
found that Defendant displayed an adequate understanding of
the roles of individuals in the courtroom and of the
adversarial court system, Id. at 7. He could explain
the pleas available to a criminal defendant, including the
plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, and understood the
basic terms used in court. Id. He was able to
explain the crimes with which he was charged and the conduct
of which he is accused. Id. He further denied having
any reservations about working with the Assistant Federal
Public Defender who has been appointed to represent him.
Id. Based on this evidence, the forensic
psychologist found that Defendant "is capable of
understanding his options and making rational choices among
them, " and that he "maintains appropriate
self-interest in the outcome of his case." Id.
at 8. She further found that he has "has the reasoning
ability to choose between alternatives when important
decisions are at stake, such as decisions regarding courtroom
strategy and whether or not he would plead guilty."
Id. Her report concludes by recommending that
Defendant be maintained on his medication to ensure he
remains competent through these legal proceedings.
competency hearing required by 18 U.S.C. §§
4241(c).and 4247(d) was held as scheduled on February 22,
2018. At that hearing, neither Defendant's counsel nor
the government objected to the forensic psychologist's
findings and conclusions. The undersigned also concurs in the
findings and conclusions found in the forensic evaluation.
Accordingly, for the reasons stated on the record at the
hearing and in this Order, it is hereby
that upon consideration of the entire record herein, the
undersigned finds by a preponderance of the evidence that
Defendant has a "sufficient present ability to consult
with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational
understanding" and "a rational as well as factual
understanding of the proceedings against him." Dusky
v. United States, 362 U.S. 402, 402 (1960).